George North is set to begin his comeback from injury on Saturday as Wales’ Six Nations countdown continues.
North has been sidelined since suffering a facial injury during the Ospreys’ Heineken Champions Cup defeat against Leicester in mid-December.
He missed the following weekend’s victory over Montpellier and three United Rugby Championship games as a result.
But North, who has won 109 caps and stands third on Wales’ all-time appearance list, has been named among Ospreys’ replacements for the return Champions Cup appointment with Montpellier in Swansea.
North is expected to continue in his current Wales position of outside centre for Ireland’s Six Nations visit to Cardiff on February 4.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland will name his Six Nations squad next week, with current Ospreys half-backs Owen Williams and Rhys Webb being tipped for recalls.
Gatland, though, has seen Cardiff flanker Thomas Young ruled unavailable due to a torn calf muscle injury.
Cardiff and Wales prop Dillon Lewis, meanwhile, is currently unavailable for selection due to injury. He has not played since mid-December because of a knee problem.
And Gloucester wing Louis Rees-Zammit appears increasingly unlikely to be fit for Wales’ opening Six Nations games against Ireland and Scotland.
Rees-Zammit suffered an ankle injury during his team’s Gallagher Premiership defeat at Leicester on Christmas Eve.
And, while he is continuing to progress on the rehabilitation front, Gloucester’s current estimate of a competitive is mid-Six Nations.